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While many across the globe will be popping champagne corks this New Year’s Eve, here in Hawaii the festivities wouldn’t be complete without traditional Japanese dishes called Osechi Ryori. Zippy’s Restaurants still makes Osechi Ryori by hand. Food writer and social media foodie Sean Morris joined our host Jobeth Devera to explain the cultural significance and traditions associated with four local New Year’s favorites: Konbu Maki, Namasu, Chicken Nishime and Sushi.
The New Year celebration is the most important national event for people in Japan. Back in the day, most businesses closed for the first three days of the year, whereby relatives and friends called on each other or exchanged greetings and best wishes. These foods were chosen for people’s hopes of happiness and prosperity in the new year. Japanese dishes Osechi Ryori is a tradition our ancestors brought to Hawaii. Traditionally, these dishes were prepared by hand in a kitchen at home. Today, you purchase rather than prepare Osechi Ryori, but Zippy’s Restaurants makes them by hand for New Year’s celebrations.
Four Featured Japanese New Year’s Eve dishes
1. Konbu Maki, seaweed stuffed with chicken or pork, is for happiness.
2. Namasu made of shredded carrot and daikon seasoned with vinegar is for happiness.
3. Chicken Nishime, which is a traditional Japanese New Year’s soup. Some call it a stew. Chicken is simmered in a flavorful broth with colorful vegetables cut into dainty, bite-size pieces. All the vegetables are hand-cut in a variety of shapes and sizes to make this dish look both interesting and appealing to the eye.
4. One of the most endearing Japanese traditional foods that makes an appearance on almost all Hawai’i holiday feasts is sushi. The secret to good sushi is sushi rice and each sushi is handmade and hand-rolled. Sushi is a perfect portable meal—a fresh, healthy, attractive food that is easy to eat anywhere at any time. Sushi has had a lengthy evolution as it began as a way of preserving fish that took as long as a year to make. It has evolved from an ancient, slow food to a contemporary fast food with international popularity.
About Zippy’s Restaurant
Francis and Charles Higa founded Zippy’s Restaurants 52 years ago on South King Street in urban Honolulu. Now, with 24 locations across Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island, Zippy’s has grown to be a beloved island institution. Zippy’s is a unique three-in-one concept: locations are a combination of fast casual takeout counters, a casual full-service dining restaurant, and a convenient full-line bakery. Many Zippy’s locations are open 24 hours a day, serving the comfort foods of Hawaii in a family-friendly atmosphere. Along with the eatery’s fast food counter and restaurants, there is also Napoleon’s Bakery®, Osaka Okazuya, The Sushi Bar at Zippy’s Pearl City and Kahala Sushi at Zippy’s Kahala. Zippy’s signature product is its original recipe chili. The restaurant sells over 100 tons of it every month through its stores, fund raising activities, and in retail markets.